Zdravljica - The European Heritage Label

In March 2020, the European Commission confirmed the nomination of Prešeren's poem Zdravljica (The Toast) for the European Heritage Label, and ranked the valuable document among the most important monuments that bear witness to the history of the European idea and integration.

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With its humanistic message, the poem reflects the essence of the idea of a connected and peaceful Europe. Prešeren's freedom-loving and cosmopolitan verses go beyond temporal and spatial boundaries and are still very relevant today. Zdravljica is not only a Slovenian national symbol: it is a direct expression of the Spring of Nations, and the desire for a peaceful coexistence of groups and individuals, and it also represents the struggle for freedom of expression and the abolition of censorship. Last but not least, the poem is the only national anthem that builds a community’s identity on a universal, cosmopolitan experience of coexistence and friendship - thus echoing the message of Beethoven's Ode to Joy, the anthem of the European Union. The first publication of Zdravljica is closely connected with the abolition of censorship, which was one of the most noticeable achievements of the Spring of Nations. In addition to the freedom of association and the abolition of selfhood, the freedom of press was one of the main requirements of the 1848 national-liberal movement. Implementation of all aspects of personal freedom, including freedom of speech, is also a fundamental principle of the European Convention on Human Rights, and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights – both are essential documents of European integration

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The awarding of the European Heritage Label is a recognition of the cultural heritage of the Slovenian nation and its contribution to the idea of European integration.The National and University Library, as the custodian of the manuscript, turned into the seat of the Prešeren's Zdravljica monument site.

The Zdravljica nomination was elaborated in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture, the National and University Library - the holder of the monument -, and external experts. In addition to the Memorial Church of the Holy Spirit in Javorca and the Franja Partisan Hospital, this is the third inclusion of a Slovenian heritage on the prominent European heritage list.

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